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The satirical comedy "Police Squad" pits an ace detective and his captain (Leslie Nielsen & Alan North) against the criminal elements that befoul a big city. From the creators of "Airplane!".
In addition to spawning the popular Naked Gun movie franchise, Police Squad! had a lasting impact on TV comedy, and it's still a guilty pleasure. Hot from the success of Airplane! two years earlier, the ZAZ team (brothers David and Jerry Zucker and writing partner Jim Abrahams) decided to spoof TV cop shows, using the late '50s Lee Marvin series M Squad and the popular series format of Quinn Martin Productions (e.g., The Streets of San Francisco) as their template for supremely silly, gag-laden satire. With Airplane! star Leslie Nielsen as straight-faced detective Frank Drebin and Alan North as Drebin's befuddled boss, Capt. Ed Hocken, this half-hour series quickly established an irresistible combination of nonstop sight gags, non sequiturs, and repeated routines ("Cigarette?" "Yes, it is") that dared viewers to pay close attention or miss the laughs if they didn't. Ironically, this very quality--you had to actually watch the show instead of casually listening for punchlines--is what ultimately sealed the series' fate. After only six poorly rated episodes, Police Squad! was canceled without fanfare, and six years passed before Drebin returned as the bumbling hero of The Naked Gun.
Will all six episodes on one DVD, ZAZ fans can get reacquainted with a series that was arguably ahead of its time. In addition to the rib-tickling disparity between onscreen episode titles and narrated titles, and "special guest stars" (including William Shatner, Robert Goulet, Lorne Greene, and others) who get killed in the opening credits, loyal viewers could count on a weekly dose of hilarity from Nielsen, North, and their supporting players. Character actor William Duell appeared each week as shoeshine boy "Johnny the Snitch," capable of answering literally any question if you repeatedly greased his palm (a gag that led to info-seeking cameo appearances by Dick Clark, Dr. Joyce Brothers, baseball manager Tommy Lasorda, and others). And while original Mission: Impossible costar Peter Lupus poked fun at himself as the dim-witted Det. Norberg (later played by O.J. Simpson in the Naked Gun movies), Ed Williams--an actual high school science teacher--is hilarious as "Mr. Wizard"-like lab technician Ted Olson, who dispenses dubious science lessons to unsuspecting children. The fast-paced barrage of humor guaranteed that every episode would deliver as many hits as misses, and while some of the jokes have lost their punch, Police Squad! still delivers the belly-laughs... and always will, as long as humans have an appetite for shameless stupidity. --Jeff Shannon
On the DVD
Two episode commentaries by the Zucker brothers, Jim Abrahams, and producer Robert K. Weiss are good for a laugh, as the ZAZ team laughs at their own material and recalls the rigors of a 5-day shooting schedule, battles with network censors (also outlined in the revealing "Production Memo Highlights" feature), and the never-shown "celebrity guest death" of John Belushi, who actually died shortly after the gag was filmed. Comedian and writer Robert Wuhl's commentary is more autobiographical and somewhat perfunctory (he barely remembers the episode he wrote), but contains a few nuts-and-bolts details about the show's production. The 10-minute Leslie Nielsen interview shows the gracefully aging star in fine form as he recalls his affinity for the ZAZ brand of humor; the brief gag reel offers about a dozen on-set bloopers (several from crude workprint sources); "Behind the Freeze Frames" is an extended outtake to illustrate the elaborately faked "freeze frame" gag that ended each episode; and "Celebrity Death Shots" is a list of guest-star death gags proposed (and mostly used) for the series. Also included are casting tests for Alan North and Ed Williams, and an animated producers' photo gallery of Police Squad! sets, props, and scenery. --Jeff Shannon
It only lasted six episodes, but they are packed with the kind of laughs that made AIRPLANE! a hit. This DVD set is especially great because it has a few extras. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Alan C. Schriver
Very disappointed. The description read the "full series", which actually should have read "all 6 episodes!" Had no idea it contained so few episodes.Published 1 month ago by Michele A.
This show was 20-30 years before it could be appreciated. It tried to be topical, spoofing TV at the time.Published 1 month ago by jeffrey gunz
ANYTHING, WITH Leslie Nielsen, I LOVE, HAD Me, FALLING OFF THE SOFA !!!!!!Published 1 month ago by Barry Nation
|Topic||From this Discussion|
|Where's the lost Belushi episode?||
The Belushi footage is not on the DVD. In "Special features" They (The Zuckers)explain why in one of the commentaries. Apparently Belushi's segment was shot a few months prior to his death, and by the time the show was ready to air, he had died so they pulled his segment. It would be... Read More
Nov 10, 2006 by James C. Suss | See all 5 posts
|Certain parts of different than the VHS releases||
The reason is because the studio couldn't (or wouldn't) get the rights clearance to use the aforementioned music in the original VHS edition. Apparently they've ponied up the money for the DVD releases.
I think you've got it backwards. With or without the rights to use... Read More
Feb 9, 2009 by Graeme Cree | See all 8 posts
|Why it Bombed||
Your'e joking of course. Not sure why this show failed but it certainly wasn't because it took too much effort to watch.
The sight gags were the most obvious thing. This show is still much better than a lot of comedies on today.
Dec 16, 2006 by M. Hansen | See all 14 posts
|Blu ray and/or Remastered Digital, one day, hopefully (and with English...||
I thought English SDH subtitles were legally required these days!
Aug 20, 2013 by Arya | See all 3 posts
|Does this DVD include subtitles?||Be the first to reply|
|about time||Be the first to reply|